A new action plan to tackle rising levels of obesity has been announced by public health minister Tessa Jowell following new figures showing dramatic increases in the last five years. The Health Survey for England: adult reference tables 1997 shows that 17 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women are now obese, compared with 13 per cent and 16 per cent respectively in 1993. The survey also showed there has been little change in drinking or smoking patterns, but a lowering of average blood pressure for both men and women.